VW Passes GM in China for First Time in Nine Years

2013: VW Passes GM in China for First Time in Nine Years

Volkswagen AG (VOW) outsold General Motors Co. (GM) in China for the first time in nine years to recapture the lead among foreign automakers in the world’s largest car market.

VW’s 2013 deliveries in the country surged 16 percent to 3.27 million vehicles, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based manufacturer said today. Detroit-based GM announced earlier this week that the U.S. automaker sold 3.16 million cars in the country.

Beating GM in China puts VW a step closer to its goal of becoming the world’s largest carmaker by 2018. As the stakes escalate — both have announced combined investment plans totaling $36 billion in the country — they’ll be facing mounting competition from the likes of Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and Hyundai Motor Co. at a time when the government is cranking up scrutiny on vehicle sales to combat pollution.

“Volkswagen will probably continue to grow more dynamically in China than GM,” said Frank Schwope, a Hanover, Germany-based analyst with NordLB who recommends buying VW shares. “It’s going to remain neck and neck.”